Germany is looking to ease its immigration process to make it easier for skilled workers from outside the country and the European Union to live and work in Germany in an effort to fill its labor gaps.
A document obtained by Reuters aims to relax migration policies specifically for skilled workers and professionals who live outside the EU, because the country is having difficulty getting its own young citizens to commit to the three-year job training necessary for the vacant jobs.
Germany, which has the largest economy in the EU, has a record 1.2 million unfilled jobs, according to the Federal Labour Office, and the country’s government is being forced to shift its focus toward foreign skilled labor.
The move to open the borders for a specific group of immigrants comes after months of Germany struggling to find a balanced solution to immigration, specifically for asylum seekers. (RELATED: Merkel Coalition Finally Makes A Deal, Scraps Transit Centers)
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government almost collapsed in July over such issues, after she couldn’t strike a deal between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), who wanted to protect immigrants’ rights, and the right-leaning anti-immigration Christian Social Union (CSU), which wanted to send asylum seekers away at the border.
Germany originally thought the million refugees it allowed into the country in 2015 would be able to fill the labor gap, but the language barrier and lack of skills the refugees came with has forced the government to rethink its strategy, the report says.
“We will adjust the federal government’s concept of skilled labor and focus on three areas: domestic, European and international skilled worker potentials,” the paper said, according to Reuters.
The document further says that the government will no longer pressure companies to hire German citizens first before foreigners, and it plans to launch advertising campaigns in select countries to attract more professionals.
Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CSU and proponent of strict immigration laws, has taken the lead on this issue, and promised to have a comprehensive plan for increasing the flow of skilled laborers into Germany by the fall.
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